Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Bullet Journaling

Hello hello!

Long time no see.... I miss blogging. I miss having TIME for blogging. This full-time-mum-part-time-teacher gig is a lot of work. And part time teaching is only part time at school... there is still plenty to be done at home on your "days off". And three kids. One with allergies. All the things.
Buuut... I wouldn't change it. I do love it, and it's the closest I think I'll get to finding that elusive work/life balance.

And it's school holidays! And I'm giving myself a whole week of looking at nothing to do with school, so; hello blogging!

Actually, I wanted to check in to share something really cool that I've started recently. A couple of weeks ago I was waiting to board my flight back to Qld (oooh travelling! Fun!! More on that later!!) I was flicking through pinterest, and stumbled across an article about Bullet Journalling. This lead to more searching on pinterest, and googling, and youtube, and before I knew it I had fallen into a giant bullet journalling rabbit hole. And I'm so glad I did!

So what is this bullet journaling you ask? Well; if you want the purist definition, there's no better place to check than this website. This is the official home of bullet journalling, by its creator Ryder Carroll. But the cool thing about bullet journalling is that you can make it whatever you want it to be for you. It's flexible like that. Have a look at this blog if you want to see what got me really intrigued by the whole thing.  Kara from Boho Berry is a crazy-creative bullet journalist, and her blog and youtube videos really got me inspired to give the whole thing a good go.

My spin on bullet journalling (or Bujo, as the cool kids say) is that it's kind of like one beautiful notebook that you use to organise, write lists, make notes, journal, and generally be creative. Does that sound like my cup of tea or what? I love journaling and writing lists; I have dozens of pieces of paper floating around my house with random scraps of thought, and notebooks and stationery are somewhat of an addiction of mine.  I loved the idea of having it all in one place, with a plan to keep it organised, and even better, to hopefully keep LIFE organised. In the end it was a no-brainer for me really.

It's like an organiser, but you get to set it up the way you like it, and you can do it differently every week or day if you really want to. And lists! I love lists. It's like my BRAIN in a book and it's so good to get some of it out!

Anyway, I'm not here to gab on, bullet journaling is much more interesting if you actually look at it instead of just reading it. I've had a lot of fun setting mine up. I used a notebook that I had at home (from Aldi), that wasn't really used, and has lovely thick good quality paper. I gathered up my collection of Staedtler triplus fineliners (my favourite pens), and I got to it!

I"m not going to show you my first few pages.... they were a bit scraggly until I found my rhythm, figured out what I wanted to include and the look I wanted. I'm in a good bujo mojo now.

So here's what this week's spread looks like. A weekly spread is basically just like a snapshot of the week. There's also a monthly spread, which is where you do longer term planning. This was my second weekly spread, and it is HUGELY different to my first one. In it you can see what I"m planning to make for dinner each night, and what the weather is meant to be doing. I've put in birthdays and special occasions, and started planning out the week.

This is how I've designed next week's spread. I LOVE that I can try new things every week. No chance for boredom here! Next week I've added a journal card into the schedule. On the back side is a space for each day of the week, and my idea is to write at least one thing I'm grateful for each day. This is something we used to do every day as a family, and it is a good practise to be in. All in one book is going to help me to keep much more on top of little things like this!

Then you move into your dailies. This is where you get into the nitty-gritty of your days. I list specific tasks/goals for the day, take notes of things that have happened, and do a touch of journaling. That's what that card I've taped in is for. You don't plan ahead for your dailies (that's what the weekly spread is for). It's an as-you-go kind of deal, which is fabulous because you can't run out of space! Some days might only take two lines, and sometimes you want a whole page. I've decided to stick with this journaling card bizzo for when I want to write specific memories or feelings and journaly type things.  Lists work so well for me. It's so much more motivating if I have things in writing in front of me than if I am just filing them away in my ahead. That filing system is not great. And crossing things off a list gives me SUCH satisfaction. 

Then there are the lists. I believe the official word is "collections". There are no rules for these and you can use them however and for whatever you want. They're super handy and the family has enjoyed being involved in brainstorming with me. Although Pete did have a good laugh at the title of this list! A list for lists! Maybe I do have a problem, Ha! Here are some of my favourites.

The kids LOVED making this list with me. It's obviously a verrrrry long term list of dreams! And yay, I'll get to cross something off my blogging list! I'm hoping keeping a list of things I want to blog about will help me to pop in here more often... rather than just those fleeting "Oh I should blog about...." thoughts that fly out of my head as soon as they land there. Time will tell.

The school holidays list is a bit  more populated now than it was when I took that pic! And we have marked off a few things every day. The kids love having a look each morning and deciding which thing they'd like to do. And the yarn projects page is to keep track of what I'm working on. There are definitely more WIP's floating round my house that need to be tacked onto that list.

The 'next visit' page is for when you think "Oh, next time we go to x store we really must get some...." Because I don't know about you but I'll always end up at x store and think, "What was that thing I said I wanted to get again??" No more!! The Chore Score page is probably my new favourite invention.  The kids work on this together. Each time they do one of their 'jobs' (without any grumbling or complaining) we colour in a square. It's a teamwork thing; they need to get all the way to the centre, and when they do we get to go on a family date! It's been very motivating for them.

The kids also had a lot of input into this list. The idea is to collect the meals that we all really love, so when it comes to menu planning each week, we can easily get ideas. The Food For Reuben page is for my facebook page.

This is another of my favourites. It tracks my steps each day, weight loss, my sugar-free days (we've gone a bit lax and I'm working hard to get back on track), and my cycle.

 I've always kept lists of the books I've been reading, but it's funner when it's pretty! And yes, I"m re-reading my Anne books. I've also got a page in my journal of my favourite quotes from them too <3 p="">
Anyway, that's just a small taste of my little foray into bullet journaling so far... I hope you enjoyed it! I know I sure am. So much so that I was motivated enough to tidy up the dumping ground that was formerly known as my desk!

 It's kinda wonderful to have a creative space again. I'm determined to make this stick!!

So what do you think? Yay or Nay. Does bullet journaling float your boat?? Would you give it a go?

Talk soon!

Zoey x

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

As you may or may not know... I'm back teaching! Like, for real. I'm working part time-- a five day fortnight, sharing a year 1/2 composite class with my sister! How cool is that! Seriously it's a dream come true and I'm loving everything about it. 

Possibly the only bummer to being back teaching is report cards, and we are in the thick of that fantastic season right now. Working at school.... looking after my three crazy and wonderful children.... making sure Reuben has the food he needs.... and then reports. You won't fully understand the craziness of writing report cards unless you've been there yourself, but I can be sure that any teachers reading this are nodding their heads... report card season is ROUGH!

I've been pulling out the old slow cooker a bit recently, but even that requires a bit of forethought. You have to be organised enough in the mornings to get the meal ready to go. My mornings are somewhat manic; getting three kids dressed and fed and prepared for school is certainly rarely a smooth progress and it's enough getting us out the door most days! 

Enter dump bags!

I know, that sounds gross, but they're a thing- I promise! Seriously google it right now if you don't believe me. They're not at all gross in reality. 

The idea is that you put together all of the ingredients for your slow cooker meal in a ziplock bag, and chuck it in the freezer. All you need to do is remember to take the bag out of the freezer and defrost it the night before you want to use it, and dump it into the slowcooker before you walk out of the door. 

Easy peasy!

I made up four dinners in about 45 minutes last week, and haven't had to cook dinner at all this week. Now a quick disclaimer; I'm not the kind of person who pre-browns my meat before putting it in the slowcooker - ain't nobody got time for that. If that's something you like to do, I can't see why you couldn't do that before you froze it. 

Anyway, I got a lot of interest when I posted the following picture on social media, and a lot of people asked for the recipes. So here I am, deep in the throes of report procrastination, bringing my dusty old blog out of hibernation, giving you not three but four dump bag recipes that will make your week awesome. Trust me.

Yes, I know there are only three bags there, but I promised four recipes and four you shall get. Lucky for you, I ended up throwing one more together after I took this photo. So here goes. Now remember, these recipes don't need a method, because all you do is literally dump the ingredients in the bag, and then dump the whole lot in the slowcooker when you want to use it. 

1: Apricot Chicken
  • 2 chicken breasts, whole
  • 1 onion, chopped finely
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped finely (we love garlic, you can use less if you like)
  • about 1 inch of ginger, chopped finely
  • 1 tbsp of veggie stock paste (if you're a thermomixer, if not, use whichever stock you like)
  • 1-2 tbsp tomato paste
  • a can of apricot nectar (or do what I did and puree a tin of apricots)
  • frozen peas
  • Whatever extra herbs you like. Lots of people like to use french onion soup, but the one I looked at at the shops, Reuben couldn't have, so I used YIAH Baharat spice blend and Herb & Garlic spice mix. 
  • A dozen or so dried apriocts, chopped roughly.
I put it on low for the day, and when I got home from work, I pulled the chicken breasts apart with a fork and stirred it all through. Serve with rice.

2: Bolognaise Sauce
  • 500g minced beef
  • vegetables (use whatever you like. I always chop mine in the thermomix on about speed 6 for 4-5 seconds. This time I used an onion, a few garlic cloves, carrots, capsicum, zucchini, spinach, and olives)
  • 1 jar of pasata
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp veggie stock paste
  • about 1/2 cup of red wine
  • whatever herbs you like
Make sure you break the mince up when you put it into the slowcooker so you don't end up with a hunk of stuck together clumpy mince. Serve with pasta!

3: Quinoa Enchiladas

I have a link for this one! Check it out.  I used all of the same ingredients, but I didn't brown the mince first. I won't put cheese on until we eat it... because Reuben.

And your bonus recipe....

4: Butter Chicken
Now usually I don't go past the absolutely incredible Skinnymixers recipe, because it is AMAZING. But, it's reasonably time consuming, and I mentioned it's report card season, right? So I based this one on a version we invented when we went camping recently, except we cooked it over the fire in a dutch oven. It's a total cheat's version, and has nothing on the real deal, but perfect for what it is. Here's what you need:
  • 2 chicken breasts, chopped into cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1-2 inches of ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 jar of pasata
  • 1-2tbsp garam masala (I also used some YIAH tandoori spice blend for some extra kick)
  • 2-3 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 can of coconut cream (you can use regular cream if you're not catering for dairy free)
  • 100g coconut oil (you can use butter if you're not catering for dairy free)

So there you go guys.... give it a go! And if my recipes aren't your cup of tea, get googling. There really are zillions of ideas for these things out there on the interwebs. 

Alright.... back to the grindstone for me!


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